Fishy Tales

25 April 2006

Nighthealing - music by John Williams

Well, you can't say I didn't warn you! My friend John Williams - no, not the famous composer - although John is indeed a composer and will doubtless be just as famous in the near future (and not the fairly famous guitarist either, although John does indeed play guitar as well as keyboards) - has seen reason and ceased providing a free download of his most popular piece of music, Nighthealing. Now you'll have to buy it from CD Baby (or email John and arrange purchase, pending other outlets like UK ones coming on board).

The good news is that even those who have already downloaded a copy will miss out on (a) The extensive remastering and (b) The cool & funky packaging. Definitely worth just under $13, or about 8 quid in real money.

This is good stuff, and if you like music that takes you on a journey, tells a story and in which you can lose yourself - and especially if you like gazing at the night sky from time to time - then this is for you. Give the samples a listen, either on the Nighthealing site or on CD Baby, and you'll see what I mean.

My personal favourite is the closing track Lunar, primarily because I love the slightly jungly rhythm and the healthy slug of (less ambient) Tangerine Dream in it.

itself appeals in a different way. It's more relaxing and absorbing, transporting and transforming. Much like the second half of Kate Bush's CD A Sky of Honey, it captures a journey into and through the night. It begins with the Zodiacal Light just after sunset, witnesses a Moonrise link to cool picture, then looks out and becomes lost in the stars (The Stars in their Sockets), on into The Butterfly's Dream. For you, like for the Taoist, Chuang Tzu, the dream of being a butterfly (or of flying among the stars?) is so perfect that, on waking, you wonder whether the dream is in fact that you are a person. Your doubts grow as the stars thin out and fade, and in this darkest part of the night (Dark Matter) you look back and mourn the loss of the stars and of their innocent joy. But exactly as you come down completely from the trip, as the night breathes its last and all is lost, the sun comes up. And with the Dawn everything is - epically - reborn.

I'm probably heavily overplaying the mysticism here. The appeal of Nighthealing is actually quite straightforward - it's nice to listen to! If you must have a comparison, I keep thinking of Jean Michel Jarre's old albums, Equinoxe and Oxygene (the latter to a lesser extent), especially the more atmospheric, "sweeping" parts.

Freefall has a distinct sound again, and provides a nice counterpoint and break from the other pieces, which are more visual. It's a kind of meditative piece or mantra, building around a single simple phrase that gradually unfolds and evolves into something much more intricate and colourful. It works quite nicely as a background piece, but once you start listening to a particular line you get thoroughly absorbed. Hmm, actually a lot of John's music is like that..

Anyway, I've said my bit. Give Nighthealing a listen (for a proper listen rather than a taster, of course, you'll need to buy it!) and let us know what you think.

Oh, did I say that I like it?